start page Charles V TOUR:  John Frederic the Magnanimous

      Contemporaries in the Holy Roman Empire      

Philip the Magnanimous,  Landgrave of Hesse 1509-1567
*1504. He promoted the Reformation, closed monasteries in Hesse, founded the University of Marburg and tried to bring together diverging protestant theologians. In 1531 Philip was a major founder of the alliance of Schmalkalden, an alliance of protestant rulers and cities against the catholic policy of the emperor. After the defeat of the alliance in the battle of Mühlberg (1547) Philip was held captured until 1552. In 1540 he was formally conceded a bigamous marriage. After his death his four legitime sons divided the country. Hesse-Cassel and Hesse-Darmstadt endured until 1866 respectively 1918.


Thaler 1538, Cassel.     Ø 40 mm, 28,95 g.   Hoffm.4478; Dav.9269.
Obv.:  PHILIPVS·Dei:Gratia:LANdgravius:HASSiae: (raven) ·Comes:CACEnellenbogio:DIetz:NIDda:
Effigy of Philip in armour with baton and gripping a sword with his left hand.
The raven in the legend stands for mintmaster Gregorig Einkhur.
Rev.:   SI DEVS - NOBIS - QVIS CO - NT NOS
SI DEUS NOBIS QUIS CONTra NOS = If God is with us who could be against us?
crowned double tailed hessian lion to the left, date 15-38 in the field,
in the legend the shields from Katzenelnbogen (top), Ziegenhain (right), Diez (bottom) and Nidda (left)


Uniface lead medal n. d., unknown artist after a wood model by Ludwig Neufahrer.
Ø 57,3 mm.   Hoffmeister 4506; Schütz 470; Habich I/2,1313.

PHILIPS✽LANDT✽GRAVF✽ZV✽HESSE✽
Bust with feather hat, wide screw collar and necklace to the right.


Stuck silver medal 1535 by C. Welcz and H. Magdeburger.     Ø 39,1 mm, 13,84 g.
Schütz 401; Habich 2/1,1900.

Obv.:   +·VON·GOTTES·GNADEN·PHILILIPS·LANDTGRAF·ZV·HESSEN·
"By God's grace, Landgrave Philip of Hesse"
Portrait almost from the front with a wide plumed hat and folded coat. Below signature +C W+.

Rev.:   ·MEIN·STERCKE·GLVC·VND·LOB·IST·MEIN·HER·VND:GOT·EXO·15
Winged, naked Fortuna stands to the left on a winged ball, on the sides of which the divided date ·I·5· - 35·; she holds a wheel of fortune in front of her, the rim of which is formed by three naked children;
in the background cityscape.

1542-1547: as the victor over Henry the Younger of Brunswick
Duke Henry the Younger of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Catholic and loyal to the emperor, was in an increasingly worsening dispute with the cities of Brunswick and Goslar. Because both cities were under the protection of the Schmalkaldic League, Landgrave Philip and Elector John Frederick I of Saxony launched a preventive attack against Henry in 1542. Henry the Younger had to flee, his country was reformed. The winners set up their own mint in Goslar, where they had "Schmalkadische federal coins" minted from silver that was obtained in the nearby mine.


Taler 1542, Goslar, "1st Schmalkaldic Bundestaler".    Ø 40 mm,  Schütz 415; Dav.9737.
Hessian side:   PARCER - E:SVBI - E - CTIS.ET - DEBELL - ARE: - SVP - ER - BOS
distributed over two writing circles: PARCERE SVBIECTIS ET DEBELLARE SVPERBOS
"Spare the humble and crush the proud." (Virgil, Aeneis)
Armored image of Philip the Magnanimous, in the right command staff, the left on the sword hilt. In the field around the head:
4-Z | PH - LA G   (date | Philips name).
Saxon side:  IOHANNES FRIDERICVS DVX SAXONIAE BVRGGRAVIVS MAGDEBVRGENSIS
but here :  IOHAN.ER - IDERIH D - SAC:BVRG: - MADEBV:   interrupted by small arms,
inner circle : 
:SOLI: - :DEO: - :VICTO - RIA:   "Our victory is from God alone"
Portrait of John Frederick, Elector of Saxony, with a short sword and an ermine coat.


Thaler 1543, Goslar. "2nd Schmalkaldic Thaler".     Ø 41 mm   Schütz 428; Dav.9740.
Hessian side:   ·PHILIP. - D:G·LANd - Gravius - HASSIaE - C.K.D3N
[ Philippus Dei Gratia Landgravius Hassiae Comes Katzenelnbogen Dietz Ziegenhain Nidda ]
Legend : Title and name of his possessions interrupted by their arms (lion for Hesse at the top).
Field : Effigy of Philip in armour with baton and gripping a sword with his left hand. Date 15 - 43.
Saxon side:   IOHANnes·F - REDERICus - Dux·SAC(x)oniae·Burggravius· - MAGDEburgensis·
Legend : His title interrupted by arms (electoral duchy and Saxony at the top).
Field : Effigy of John Frederic the Magnanimous in electoral coat with shouldered electoral sword.
The sides of the coin refer to different sovereigns, so both sides may be considered as the obverse. The so called "Schmalkaldic League Taler" was minted jointly by the two main leaders to promote the league and to support war funds. The 2nd leader of the league - John Frederic the Magnanimous - follows on the next page of the TOUR.

Uniface galvanoplastic museum production of an oval medal n. d. (1547).
Model by Master from Philip the Magnanimous.   Ø 82x70 mm, 129.43 g.   Habich 2191.
PHILIPS·LANDTGRAFF·ZVO·HESSEN·G·K - D·Z·N*VON·GOTTES·GNADEN·

Philip war imprisoned in the Netherlands after the defeat of the Schmalkaldic Leage in 1547 and got free in 1552 when his son in law, elector Maurice of Saxony, switched sides and launched a surprise attack agaist the Emperor.


Thaler 1552, Cassel, "Spruchtaler".     Ø 45 mm   Hoffmeister 368; Schütz 448; Dav.9271.
Obv.:   ·PHILIP·D·G·LANDG·HASSIE·C·K·D·3·N·A·1552 FIER FE ¤
Effigy of Philip in armour as bevor.
Rev.:   BESS·LAND·V·LVD·V·LORN·ALS·ENFALSCH·AID·GESCHWORN.¤
in German: "Besser Land und Leut verloren als ein Falscheid geschworen"
"It is better to loose country and people than swear a false oath"
Therefore the Thaler is called "Spruchtaler" (talking Thaler).
Arms of Hesse (middle), Katzenelnbogen (top left), Nidda (top right), Ziegenhain (bottom left) und Diez,
in between: P - SE - D - S   (Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos)
"To spare the humble and to crush the proud"

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